Dell EMC World 2017 – Wrap-up and Link-o-rama

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here’s a quick post with links to the other posts I did surrounding Dell EMC World 2017, as well as links to other articles I found interesting.


Product Announcements

Here’re the posts I did covering the main announcements from the show.

Dell EMC Announces VMAX Enhancements

Dell EMC Announces Midrange Storage Line Enhancements

Dell EMC Announces XtremIO “X2”

Dell EMC Announces Isilon Update (with cameo from ECS)

Dell EMC (Pre-)Announces ScaleIO 3.0



Here’re the posts I did during the show. These were mainly from the media sessions I attended.

Dell EMC World 2017 – Monday General Session Notes

Dell EMC World 2017 – Michael Dell Q & A (and more!)

Dell EMC World 2017 – Dell Technologies Cloud Strategy Session Notes

Dell EMC World 2017 – Tuesday General Session Notes

Dell EMC World 2017 – Michael Dell Q & A – Part 2

Dell EMC World 2017 – storage.58 – Isilon.Next: Raising the Bar on Performance & Archive Use Cases Notes

Dell EMC World 2017 – storage.43 – Dell EMC Unity: Performance Analysis Deep Dive Notes

Dell EMC World 2017 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure


Other Links

Here’re some articles about the show written by people I know or follow (or both). They’re worth checking out (both the articles and the people).

Jon Klaus

Viva Las Vegas: See you at Dell EMC World 2017!

Workforce Transformation at Dell EMC World 2017


Brett Johnson

Dell EMC World 2017: All wrapped up


Dave Henry

Virtustream Launches Cloud Offering Designed for Healthcare

Summary of Monday’s Announcements at Dell EMC World 2017


Sam Shouse

ScaleIO 3.0


Greg Schulz

Dell EMC World 2017 Day One news announcement summary

Dell EMC Azure Stack Hybrid Cloud Solution


Preston de Guise

Dell EMC Integrated Data Protection Appliance


Chad Sakac

Dell EMC World 2017: ScaleIO 3.0!

Dell EMC World 2017: Ready Node-a-palooza!

Dell EMC World 2017: VDI Complete–Ready Bundle!

Dell EMC World 2017: RedHat Ready Bundle Update!

Dell EMC World 2017: Azure Stack Update!

Dell EMC World 2017: VxRack FLEX Updates!

Dell EMC World 2017: Cloud FLEX–I can’t believe we’re doing this!

Dell EMC World 2017: XC Series Updates!

Dell EMC World 2017: VxRail and VxRack SDDC Updates!


Dell EMC Announcements

Here are some of the posts from Dell EMC covering the major product announcements.

Dell EMC VMAX 950F: Raises Bar for High-End All Flash Storage

New Dell EMC PowerEdge: Bedrock of the Modern Data Center

Introducing XtremIO X2 – Next Generation All-Flash Array

Flexible Consumption Models—Transforming How IT Invests for the Future

New Dell EMC SC5020 Storage Array Offers Lowest $/GB

Dell EMC Integrated Data Protection Appliance – Innovation Without Compromise

Dell EMC Advances Data Center Grade Software-Defined Storage with ScaleIO.Next

Simplify IT Transformation with Next Gen Dell EMC Unity All-Flash Systems

Bigger. Badder. More Powerful. Dell EMC Just Reinvented #1 Scale-Out NAS Platform in the Industry



I had a hectic but enjoyable week. I would have liked the time to get to more of the technical sessions, but being given access to some of the top executives in the company was pretty neat too. Thanks again to Dell EMC (particularly Mark Browne and Sarah Vela) for having me along for the ride. Now, please enjoy this really blurry picture of Gwen Stefani.

Dell EMC World 2017 – Tuesday General Session Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

These are my very rough noted from the Tuesday General Session at Dell EMC World 2017. You’ll see that they’re mainly dot points. Ideas to take away and think about if you will.

Karen Quintos takes the stage.

“IT Transformation Realized Awards” (video) – Winners are AIG, citi, Columbia Sportswear, Express Scripts, Jaguar Land Rover, Molina Healthcare.

Jeremy Burton takes the stage (Jeff Clarke can’t make it today)

  • What’s changed since 1987? A whole lot of stuff
  • Work’s not a place, it’s an activity
  • 42% of millennial will quit their job if they use substandard tech

Latitude 7285 2-in-1 with wireless charging. Available from June 1 in the US.

  • It’s not just about the tech though. People are interested in consuming PCs as a service.
  • Security – 95% of breaches occur at the endpoint
  • Technology improves by 10X every 5 years


Ken Black (Nike VP of Digital Design Transformation)

  • Creation and collaboration
  • How do you get the idea in the designer’s head out and into a product that you can consume?

Sarah Burkhart (PM, Dell Canvas)

  • VR and AR estimated to be a $35B business by 2025

Brian Mullins (CEO, @DAQRI)

  • Design hardware and software to bring augmented reality everywhere

Andy Rhodes (VP and GM of IoT)

  • IMS Evolve and Dell EMC
  • Dell EMC want to help you build the infrastructure to help you transform your workforce.

Pat Gelsinger takes the stage (@pgelsinger)

  • VMware do “real” magic – changing the world, changing the quality of people’s lives
  • Pendulum swinging – mainframe, minicomputer, client server, IoT, etc
  • Need to take control of the edge
  • IoT – plethora of edge devices, producing an extraordinary amount of data
  • VMware Pulse IoT Center – AirWatch, vROps, NSX
  • Manage, monitor and secure
  • Real-time visibility
  • VMware – addressing customers’ most complex challenges
  • And device, any app, any cloud

The core challenge is having to stitch together silos of innovation – there are too many point solutions to manage

VMware Workspace ONE – Consumer simple, enterprise secure

  • The power of HCI
  • VDI Complete – Dell EMC, VMware, Dell Technologies [High five from @sakacc]
  • Rent-A-Center – rental place
  • 14G brings out the best in vSAN
  • Dell EMC VxRack SDDC
  • VMware Cloud Foundation Momentum
  • VMware cross-cloud architecture
  • Demo of VMware on AWS
  • Pivotal and VMware
  • “Developer-ready infrastructure”

Bill Cook (President and COO, Pivotal) joins Pat on stage

Key Trends – enterprises are changing business models based on shift to cloud-native applications

  • Mobile devices and connectivity
  • Near-free computing costs
  • Global scale of operations
  • Ubiquity of embedded sensors

Speed to deployment

  • Developer – increase feature velocity, decrease spend
  • Operator – increase service levels, decrease cost
  • “You’ll be up and running in days – not weeks or months”
  • Digital transformation: “Tech is breaking out of tech”

Some interesting ideas in this session. 3.5 stars.

Dell EMC World 2017 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as a conference attendee at Dell EMC World 2017. This is by no stretch an interesting post from a technical perspective, but it’s a way for me to track and publicly disclose what I get and how it looks when I write about various things. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. While everyone’s situation is different, I took 5 days of training / work time to be at this event (thanks to my employer for being on board).



My employer paid for my taxi to BNE airport. I flew Qantas economy class to LAX and then American Airlines to LAS. The flights were paid for by Dell EMC. Plane food was consumed on the flight. It was a generally good experience, lack of sleep notwithstanding. I stayed at the Palazzo Hotel. This was covered by Dell EMC as well.



I attended a vExpert / Dell EMC Elect kickoff breakfast held at the Palazzo. I had bacon, sausage and eggs, juice, coffee. Remarkably, the bacon was cooked properly, not burnt to a crisp like the Americans seem to prefer. I also picked up a great VCSA VSAN t-shirt. Thanks a bunch to VMware (and Gina Rosenthal in particular) for organising this.

I then attended press / media / influencer sessions at the conference. I picked up a Dell EMC branded 2500Ma portable battery and a bottle of water. Sarah Vela gave me a New Balance Dell EMC branded backpack and one of those useful water bottles that aren’t made of crappy plastic. For lunch I had steak, chicken and salad and another bottle of water. Dell EMC hosted a “Press, Analyst & Influencer Reception” at the pool at the Palazzo. I had some shrimp and sushi and a couple of Stella Artois beers. I also picked up a black fedora (they were giving them out for some kind of activity that I didn’t get to stay for). If it survives the trip home my eldest daughter will love it. I had dinner at Morel’s Steakhouse courtesy of ActualTech Media. I had a few Firestone PIVO beers, the filet mignon and fancy french fries, and some profiteroles for dessert.



Breakfast for press / media / influencers was held in the Solutions Expo. I had some coffee, fruit, a breakfast burrito and a bottle of water. I had lunch in the press area. This consisted of some potato salad, pasta and short ribs. Good stuff. I had a briefing with some folks from the Dell EMC Midrange team and they kindly gave me an 8GB USB stick. We had an influencer reception organised by Sarah Vela at Velveteen Rabbit and I had a few Sierra Nevada Summerfest lagers and some hors-d’oeuvres. It was a pretty cool place.

I then took a Lyft with Howard Marks and Bob Plankers (paid for by Howard) to Lotus of Siam for dinner with 20 other people. Bob bought me a large bottle of Singha while we waited in the bar for our table to be ready. We then had a variety of Thai dishes (including garlic prawns) and I had a few more Singha beers. This was paid for by a number of people (Andy Banta of NetApp, Gina Rosenthal from VMware, with Hugo Patterson from Datrium contributing the lion’s share). I then caught a Lyft back to my hotel with Howard (courtesy, once again, of Howard) and turned in for the night.



Breakfast was in the media area. It was sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, orange juice and coffee. I had lunch in the media area (sensing a theme here) consisting of chicken and salad. I picked up some stuff in the Solutions Expo, including a Brocade-sponsored NVMe over Fibre Channel for Dummies book, a Cisco | Dell EMC tote bag, a Dell EMC water bottle, a Dell EMC “phone holder” and a Dell EMC World shopping bag. Not a lot of swag this year, but this aligns with my reluctance to seek it out and Dell EMC’s (and other companies’) reluctance to hand it out. Dell EMC ran a customer appreciation reception that I attended from 5 – 7pm. I had a few Shiner Light Blonde beers at this event, some prawns, and some goat’s cheese croquettes.

I was lucky enough to grab dinner at Table 10 with Edward Halteky, Brett Johnson, Alastair Cooke and Michael Davis. I had some calamari, fries (wedges) and two Firestone Walker IPA beers. vBrownBag was kind enough to pick up the tab. By the time we’d finished dinner it was almost time for the Customer Appreciation Party (featuring Gwen Stefani) to get started. We made our way to the venue and listened to Gwen pump out the hits. I had a couple of Stella Artois beers there.



I skipped breakfast but did pick up 3 Dell EMC World long sleeve shirts from the lounge. Lunch at was at Public House with Michael Davis, Gina Rosenthal, Brett Johnson and Alastair Cooke. I had a hamburger, french fries and a Las Vegas Lager. We split the bill 5 ways. I then went to the final session of the conference, had a bottle of water, grabbed my bags and made my way to Las Vegas International in a cab. The taxi ride was covered by my employer.


Dell EMC World 2017 – storage.43 – Dell EMC Unity: Performance Analysis Deep Dive Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the #storage.43 session. This was presented by Keith Snell and went through a lot of useful scenarios.



Three uses for performance data

1. Health check

  • Performance metrics provide the ability to determine operating efficiency of the system in servicing requests.
  • Independent to block or file activity, the storage processors and disks are common contributors to performance that give us a first look at system health

2. Capacity Planning

  • Checking current resource utilisation
  • Can we incrementally add workload to existing resources?
  • Can we add hardware and workload to the system?

3. Troubleshooting

  • Object specific performance metrics provide the capability to isolate and identify areas of concern


Sample Period

Performance data can be presented with different sample periods – “so what?”

The larger the sample period the more “averaged” the data is

  • Reduces chance to view burst activity
  • Duration of bursts will dictate accuracy of displayed data

Performance dashboard might look different depending on time period viewed

  • Dashboard is minimum 60 second samples but can go up to 4 hours per sample (variation in performance will be averaged the sample frequency being displayed)

For the most accurate and customisable performance analysis, post processing performance archives is recommended


Performance Metrics and Where to Find Them

Object Unisphere Dashboard / uemcli Archive
Storage Processor Utilisation (average) Utilisation (average and per core)
LUN Response Time, IOPS, MB/s, queue Utilisation, response time, IOPS, MB/s, queue
Disk IOPS, MB/s, Service Time, queue Utilisation, IOPS, MB/s, queue
Ports IOPS, requests, MB/S IOPS, requests, MBPS
File Systems IOPS, MB/s, IO size IOPS, MB/s, IO size
FAST Cache Dirty ratio None (future)
  • Utilisation, response time and MB/s are key quality of service indicators
  • Utilisation at LUN and disk layer is available from archive data


Performance Dashboard

The performance dashboard is primarily used for viewing performance data from the historical database, and can be used to determine the health of the system

Time selection options customisable – time available goes back 90 days.

Sample period available

  • 60 seconds = up to 3 days of data
  • 300 seconds = up to 14 days of data
  • 3600 seconds = up to 28 days of data
  • 14400 seconds = up to 90 days of data

System level statistics

  • Port IOPS and MB/s
  • Flash LUN Statistics
  • SAS LUN Statistics
  • LUN I/O size and MB/s
  • Host I/O Limits

In Performance dashboard area of the Unity Unisphere interface.



uemcli options for historical data

Available metrics for historical viewing

uemcli -d <IP> -u <user> -p <pwd> /metrics/metric -availability historical show

Lists all available metrics, ~77 in total.

Sample period available

  • 60 seconds = up to 3 days of data
  • 300 seconds = up to 14 days of data
  • 3600 seconds = up to 28 days of data
  • 14400 seconds = up to 90 days of data
uemcli -d <IP> -u <user> -p <pwd> /metrics/value/hist -path sp.*.storage.lun.*.totalcallsrate show -from "2017-05-10 14:25:00" -count 360 -interval 60 -output csv
uemcli -d <IP> -u <user> -p <pwd> /metrics/value/hist -path sp.*.storage.lun.*.responsetime show -from "2017-05-10 14:25:00" -count 360 -interval 60 -output csv

uemcli options for real time

Available metrics for historical viewing

uemcli -d <IP> -u <user> -p <pwd> /metrics/metric -availability real-time show

Lists all available metrics, ~580 in total.

uemcli syntax for real-time commands

/metrics/value/rt -path <value> show -interval <value> [{-period <value> | -to <value> | -count <value>} [-summary]] [-flat] [-output {nvp | csv | table [-wrap]}] [{brief | -detail}]
uemcli -d <IP> -u <user> -p <pwd> /metrics/value/rt -path sp.*.storage.lun.*.readsRate,sp.*.storage.lun.*.writesRate show -interval 30

We pick a longer interval than the minimum 5 as it can be challenging to compute / display multiple LUNs’ data in real time.


Performance Archives

Archives contain 1 hour of data in a SQL database format

  • Each archive is aligned to the top of the hour (e.g. coverage of 3pm to 4pm, and 4pm to 5pm)
  • Filename is data and time referenced to the start time of the archive (UTC time)
  • Partial archives are readable self contained SQL database files
  • Repository contains a minimum of 48 archives (covering 2 days of high definition performance data)

As of Unity OE 4.2, archives can be retrieved in the UI

  • Retrieving archives is currently possible via WinSCP

You can look at the structure of the archive with DB Browser for SQL Lite

  • Export requires data manipulation to evaluate timestamp details from an offset of epoch time (also per second samples for metrics like I/O, MB, calls, etc, Object names have to be mapped to user objects where possible with embedded tables).


Unity Performance Archive Dump


  • 1 to multiple archives
  • Output to csv format (2 variants of formatting)
  • Timesteps
  • Equated per second metrics
  • Ongoing development

Still in development. Email to get early access via this.

What do I do with dumped csv data?



If your timestamp doesn’t show seconds, you can select column A and change format

  • Add :ss to show seconds for each sample

After selecting the entire sheet by clicking in the top corner, select insert pivot chart. That will default to the whole table.



  • Multiple performance data options for viewing, collection and analysis
  • Unity best practices for performance referenced for health status
  • Sample period considerations with different methods to look at data
  • Issue isolation and possible solutions considered, engaging Host I/O Limits, and rebalancing of load using dynamic pool expansion.

Keith also very kindly did a condensed version of this session for vBrownBag. You can check it out here. All in all a great way to finish of the conference. 5 stars.

Dell EMC World 2017 – storage.58 – Isilon.Next: Raising the Bar on Performance & Archive Use Cases Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the #storage.58 session. This was presented by John Har and covered the H and A series Isilon hardware.


Isilon Overview

Isilon: the true scale out NAS

Has been around for 15 years

  • Single scalable namespace
  • 18TB to 65PB, 1GB/s to 140GB/s
  • Distributed filesystem across cluster, up to 144 nodes
  • No bottlenecks, no hotspots
  • Easy to manage, no RAID, LUNs or multiple FS to manage
  • Up to 89% storage efficiency


Transparent, optimised storage tiering

  • Reduce capital expense
  • Optimise storage
  • Transparent to users and applications
  • Flexible admin defined policies
  • Deduplication

Cloud tiering to ECS, Azure, AWS, virtustream, etc


Enterprise Grade Data Protection and Management

  • SnapshotIQ – Fast, efficient data backup and recovery
  • SyncIQ – Fast and flexible asynchronous replication for disaster recovery protection
  • SmartConnect – Policy-based client failover with load balancing
  • SmartLock – Policy-based compliance and WORM data protection
  • SmartDedupe – Data deduplication to reduce storage requirements and costs
  • SmartPools – Policy-based automated tiering
  • SmartQuotas – Quota management and thin provisioning
  • InsightIQ – Performance monitoring and reporting to manage storage resources
  • CloudPools – Seamlessly tier cold or frozen data to a choice of public or private cloud options
  • Access Zones – Secure separation of data for different groups or users


New generation architecture

  • Drive sleds future-proofed to support other drives such as NVMe
  • Compute “suitcases” – performance / cost optimised
  • Use either with IB or Ethernet (one or the other) – Isilon still owns / qualifies the back-end networking
  • Non-disruptive migration will be possible too (from InfiniBand to Ethernet)


Streaming image/video workflows Everywhere

Typical requirements

  • >1GB/s sequential read/write
  • GB-TB sized datasets
  • Low, stable latency <2ms

Example: M&E 4K uncompressed workflows

  • Post-production and visual effects flow
  • 5-100 artists & editors, 5K – 10K core render farm
  • 1.2GB/s per 4K uncompressed stream (73GB/min)
  • Sometimes cache on clients – data management headache


Solution: Work directly off Isilon

  • H600 and F800 optimised for many 1-2GB/s streams
  • Can edit and create effects directly off of H600
  • Eliminate dedicated edit storage and data movements
  • Seamless tiering with archive in same cluster – transparent to clients

Why not just use ECS for archive? ECS is great for geo-distributed, PB scale. Isilon ideal for the same site.


High IOPS Workloads

IOPS-intensive design, distribution, and search

Typical requirements

  • Millions of small temporary files
  • Heavy on creates and deletes
  • Metadata intensive

Example: EDA Design

Intensive, multi-staged chip design process

  • Thousands of files created (checkout)
  • Millions of temp files created
  • Simulation and verification testing
  • Millions of files deleted

10s to 100s of concurrent projects


Solution: Performance and density with Generation 6

  • F800 or H600 can simplify the performance tier for active design projects
  • H500 / H400 / A200 can be recent projects or DR site
  • A200 / A2000 can provide TBs to PBs of deep archive


Archive – You never know when you’ll need that again

Typical requirements

  • 10s – 100s of PB
  • Online and few seconds of latency
  • Moderate read throughput when data needed


Example: Population-scale genomics

  • Per million people – 80PB of whole genome data
  • “Variant calling” to extract population-scale insights using traditional HPC or newer Hadoop methods
  • Need performant, deep archives


Solution: Generation 6

H-series for single namespace of active processing

  • H600 for continuous ingest, transfers, intense HPC
  • H500/H400 for researchers

A2000 for deep archives in same namespace or separate site. Continue to tier further down to ECS for geo-collaboration


Closing Thoughts

  • H-series and A-series are future-proofed in performance and capacity to grow your business
  • Isilon Generation 6 delivers the optimal mix of performance, capacity and densities for every part of your workflows, new and existing
  • Existing Isilon benefits continue: single namespace, scalability and simplicity
  • Seamless data lake to Dell EMC ECS and public cloud for colder archives
  • Looking at how to replace the backup accelerators (A100)

Very useful session. 4.5 stars.


Dell EMC World 2017 – Michael Dell Q & A – Part 2

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

I attended an APJ-specific Q & A with Michael Dell. If find these things fascinating because they generally highlight (at least to me) how much of a grip on both the business and technology side MD has. It also reminds me that the poor guy must get a lot of silly questions every single day of the week. Also, blurry photos? I’ve got you covered.

CIOs in India are asking to delivery business value every day. How is Dell responding in terms of the new acquisition models in terms of mid-market and enterprise?

MD: You don’t do IT for fun. You do it to be more productive, enable growth. You can’t do anything without IT though. Companies are having to re-imagine their business. IT Transformation. Workforce transformation – not everything is being done with the mobile phone. But there was a “defocus” on things like PCs. They got old. Productivity fell. Having the lowest cost PC doesn’t retrain or attract good talent. And it all has to be secure. The role of IT in business has never been greater than before.

You said that HPE were shrinking their way to success last year. Has your opinion changed?

MD: We’re continuing to grow. We’ve made some big, bold choices about our business. Customers have been positive. Strong momentum in APJ.

Compare now and 5 years from now – what will be the biggest changes? And how will you do it? And what market segments do you want to win that you haven’t? 

MD: 5 years, 10 years. The SDDC will become the de facto standard. SDN is starting to emerge. Storage virtualisation is well advanced. Enables moving the focus up to the application level. Emergence of 5G cellular network. Expect it to be a global phenomenon. It’s not about phone calls. It’s about data. Low latency will lead to different kind of distributed computing. IoT, plus AI and machine learning and deep learning – it’s going to be amazing. Building the company around these new requirements. Every industry is having to re-imagine itself given this access to data. The art of the possible. Scared of new entrants showing up without that baggage too. It’s changed a lot in the last 5 – 10 years.

Which market segments?

MD: We’re focussed on infrastructure. We want to be the essential infrastructure company for the fourth industrial revolution. Pivotal is creating new kind of infrastructure for the cloud-native world. Not going to do everything, lots of partnerships and alliances.

There was a PC era, there was a smartphone era. What’s the next big thing in consumer world?

MD: From the perspective of the consumer, it will be easier to tell you what we’re not going to do. We’re not really a company that is mostly focussed on the consumer. If you’re going to sell PCs to business, the individual consumer must love them. We’re focussed on data centre, enterprise. Don’t expect voice-activated gadgets to manage your home from us.

In the run up to the merger, the company divested some software assets. Increasingly IT is all about software-defined. How are you going to continue innovating? When do you see a time when IT is a utility, if at all?

MD: Our SW business is much larger than before. We got rid of Quest, but we bought EMC (RSA, Pivotal, etc). What you saw on stage today were a lot of software products. VMware is a massively successful software company. Pivotal is a company that has created a whole ethos to create software. As for utility models, we talked about Cloud Flex program on the first day. People moving to pay by usage model. We’re happy to embrace that.

US tech giants often leave AU, etc off the guest list for major announcements. Will all this stuff be available in AU? If not, why not?

MD: We operate in 180 countries, we don’t do everything everywhere. We have a tiered approach. Australia happens to be one of those countries we focus on first. We have a global business in nature. You can expect the vast majority of this stuff to be available all over the world.

We’ve been hearing good stories about the merger. Any struggles?

MD: We’re quite happy with the way the combination has come together. Customers have observed we’ve made a lot of progress over the last 8 months. The biggest surprise was that there weren’t a lot of surprises. I don’t have a lot of complaints. Customer demand is quite strong. Integration with VMware has gone extremely well. Pivotal and VMware co-operating. Commitments from global SIs, customers. Customers would rather buy everything from one company. Humbled by reaction from customers. Over half of the mission-critical data in the world stored on Dell EMC.

Post-merger, how will the big Dell tech centres in Malaysia evolve?

MD: These centres are very important to us. Incredibly bullish about long-term growth opportunities in Asia. Big part of our past, present, and our future.

You want consumers to love the product. Why did you let Apple “flood” the market with Apple machines that people aspire to own?

MD: Apple’s marketshare recently reached a 5 year low. Our’s is a 5 year high. We aspire to have our marketshare go up.

A lot has been said about India as a big market. How big is India as a market for Dell? What are your plans for India?

MD: Was our third largest market. When combined with EMC and VMware, it wasn’t anymore. India continues to grow. Broad range of activities for Dell technologies. It’s a great place, important and will continue to be.


Interesting session. 4 stars.


Dell EMC World 2017 – Dell Technologies Cloud Strategy Session Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

I attended a media and influencer session covering Dell EMC’s Cloud Strategy. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for the entire session, but I thought these notes might be useful for folks out there interested in Dell EMC’s approach to this somewhat hot topic.


Cloud Strategy Overview

Jeremy Burton comes on stage. “I’m very much the warmup act”. Talks briefly about Dell’s application-centric view of the world:

  • Mission-critical applications – IO intensive, requiring guarantees of resiliency
  • General-purpose applications
  • Cloud-native applications

It’s a short rehash of David Goulden’s deck from yesterday – you can find my coverage of that here.


Cloud Strategy Discussion

There’s then a panel, moderated by Matt Baker (Senior Vice President, Strategy and Planning, Dell EMC), and comprised of:


What have we learned from customers over the past decade?

DG: “Cloud isn’t a place, it’s where you’re doing things. ITaaS – that’s the simple definition. Then the whole IT landscape is moving to a cloud operating model. Always have to marry it back to customers’ applications. You need to have applications that enhance the business. Take customers on the journey.

PG: The pieces are really coming together. Virtualised compute, SDDC, CloudFoundation putting the pieces together. Converged and HCI. Validated designs and EHC. We have all the layers at a component level through to a complete integrated solution for private cloud that can be extended to the public cloud. University example where they’re operating 50/50 public and private. Announced integration of vRealize with virtustream. It’s now all realisable.
Developers are ultimately the end consumers of cloud.

JW: New set of workloads are happening. E.g. Bosch. IoT? NSX helped them, as did vSphere, EHC and PCF.
Rodney, you created a public cloud for demanding environments? How?

RR: Determined that the last thing the world needed was another sub-scale AWS. Solved a different engineering problem. Modernising the applications will happen eventually. No reason you can’t use automation and true cloud multi-tenancy for these applications. Break resources into highly granular components. Run higher utilisation per host, allowing pricing power of a public cloud. Still use throughput control providing latency guarantees.


What about the notion of locality? Flexible consumption options? What’s its role?

DG: Logical extension of cloud operating model. IT should be able to buy its infrastructure based on use too. Traditional models of acquisition and ownership are being challenged.

PG: NSX, heavily favoured subscription model. Huge bias that on-premises is perpetual. That is changing.
NSX is a perfect match for solving stumbling blocks to cloud adoption. Can I talk for an hour about this? We’ve seen an inflection point. Ability to move networking functions into software. Integral part of what they’re doing.

JW: NSX integration is important in PCF. Figuring out this stuff is hard. NSX-T being integrated with PCF. Vital to application / platform approach.

PG: Cloud has been a leader in modern application development aspects.

JW: We thought we wanted cloud, what we really wanted was cloud applications.


What about the notion of community clouds. What role do verticals play in what you’re doing at virtustream?

RR: Mission-critical applications in cloud is relatively new space. Moniker associated with SAP, but run 1000s of applicationss. Starting to “verticalise” – introducing a healthcare vertical. “Hybrid-washing is the new cloud-washing”. Mission critical in the cloud will be a $25-30B segment. Federal, public sector …


[Questions from the floor]

Where does DevOps fit in?

JW: Continuous ops, deployment, update. Took an app-centric view of developers infrastructure.

PG: Developers wouldn’t go to a devops conference. They’re not motivated to be operations people. They want to automate stuff to get out of the business of ops. PCF is built for Day 2 operations. Developer to Operations is measured in minutes. Home Depot, Comcast operating at scale.


What are you thinking about public clouds? You’re competing and working with them? Where do they really fit?

PG: Lead partners for Pivotal are AWS, IBM, Azure and Google. Cross-cloud strategy is helping them embrace the energy. The right answer is a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy moving forward. Are you going to bet on one cloud only?


Cost dynamics of that approach? Want to reduce the friction across those environments.

DG: Dell EMC will be the provider of the infrastructure. Be the company that solutions across Dell Technologies (e.g. EHC). On-premises marketplace is a huge opportunity.  As much cooperative as it is competitive.

PG: No one else has these relationships with the big providers.

RR: We get this a lot. It’s all about the use case. There are certain workloads that make the most sense to be placed in a hyper scale public cloud.


If I’m a developer for a new application today, I care about APIs and data, not infrastructure. We’re still playing with old technology – VMs / containers. Nothing like server less has emerged in the private space.

JW: The PCF paradigm – here’s the code I want to run, the services I want to bind it to. Bringing Spring CloudFunction to the Pivotal stack.

PG: Our objective is to make infrastructure frictionless, regardless of location.
David was talking about differences between SMB and Enterprise. Given the differences, how are you guys approaching SMB from a cloud perspective. And how are they using it?

PG: Some SMB customers think they’re just not at scale, so they don’t want to run infrastructure. Powerful GTM for Dell. Certain industries, it’s just not going to happen. Not one size fits all.

RR: Market segmentation will play significantly here.


People can be irrational. Enterprises are looking for a straightforward solution. What you’re collectively proposing may seem complex. What do you think?

PG: Initial uptake of public cloud was based on easy, not cost. We’ve now finished the easy stack in private. What’s my business model? Industry constraints? Cost options? Now you can pick the best of both.

RR: If you’re going to have a holistic solution, it is a challenge to simplify the message. Large business is where the technical idealist goes to die.

DG: It’s not a terribly complicated matrix. You might just use Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and public cloud. In each of these segments, there are complete solutions.

MB: It’s been much simplified, and we want to show you as an audience the complete solution. Partners and sales people make the choice a bit simpler when working with customers. Far simpler than it has been in the past.


Where do you think Boomi fits in this?

JW: PCF integration just announced.

DG: Haven’t met a customer who doesn’t need it.

RR: Working with Boomi to integrate with virtustream blueprint technologies and integrating into virtustream platform

And that’s a wrap. I unfortunately missed the customer discussion between Tom Roloff (Senior Vice President, Business & IT Transformation) and Ted Newman (Head of Cloud Services, Royal Bank of Scotland) and the “Cloud Strategy Realized” panel with:



Everyone says cloud (of whatever type) is hard. And they’re right. A few people made a big point about the focus on private cloud by Dell EMC in one of the keynotes this week. I think they’re missing the point though. Amazon will always tell you that public is best. And probably by 2025 when most applications are cloud-native, this will absolutely be true. But in the meantime, there are a shedload of enterprises and small businesses running legacy applications that don’t necessarily translate well to public cloud infrastructure. Or they can be serviced more efficiently in a private cloud scenario. I don’t have a problem with this approach at all. Dell EMC aren’t stupid. They have virtustream, and they’re working mighty hard to make sure their hybrid story is a good one. People get this idea that vendors have to be everything to everyone and when that doesn’t happen, they seem to get a bit upset. Public cloud is clearly a solid way forward for a lot of companies and their applications, but it’s not the only one. Just like not everyone is going to be a hyperscaler, not everyone is going to go all in on public cloud. I’m okay with that. And Dell EMC may change their mind next year too. If you’re looking an alternative viewpoint, you could have a look at this article on El Reg. In any case, the part of the session I attended was informative. 4 stars.

Dell EMC World 2017 – Michael Dell Q & A (and more!)

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

These are my notes from a press / media / influencer session I attended today. I went because I enjoy hearing Michael Dell and David Goulden speak. They’re pretty rough notes, but I hope they give some insight into the messaging.


Meet the Chairman 

Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell Technologies

A range of industries are all trying to figure it out. A computer isn’t just something you carry around – the number of computers is exploding. You see this in many forms. The cost of making something intelligent is approaching zero dollars.

Opens the floor to questions

What is the main challenge working in IT sector? Is it human resources?

MD: the main challenge is reimagining their business in the context of these new technologies. Technology plus humans is the answer, not technology versus humans. It’s always been that way. All technology creates jobs and destroys them. Will enhance human capability and capacity.

What do you think about AR and VR and how Dell might embrace that?

MD: remembers Oculus in early stages. Video and visualisation – you can take in information with your eyes faster than any other way. Today’s VR and AR is “game-like”. As these technologies improve in resolution. Photo-realism starts to improve things. The amount of data required for this becomes huge. There’s enormous potential in not only entertainment, but training and business applications. We’re just at the beginning of this.

PCs are still at the core of the company, but margins are declining. Do you see them maintaining this importance?

MD: 17 quarters in a row of gaining share. Invested in R&D. The PC business gives them incredible scale. Parents of IoT are PCs. 5G cellular networks will create a new kind of distributed cloud. It’s all about data, not talking on the phone faster. It doesn’t always make sense to give employees cheap computers, you want to give them great tools. Average selling price for PCs is going up, not down. It’s a $170B market space. #1 in revenue and profits.

What’s your advice to small business trying to keep up with technology? And what do you tell entrepreneurs who want to be like Michael Dell?

MD: Technology is not just an IT function anymore. No matter what size, you can’t do anything very well anymore without technology. Small business has the ability to invent a new business using tech, or re-invent using technology. Best advice: embrace risk. Goes along with innovation and growth. Too many people have been afraid to fail.

Perspectives on processor strategies?

MD: There continue to be improvements in the “CPU and memory complex”. Memory and storage getting closer and closer to the processor all the time. There are increasingly specialised forms of compute and processing (CPU, GPU, deep learning, machine intelligence). No doubt that innovation there will continue. Dell need to understand what that means and how to deliver to their customers

If you were not in technology, what would you be doing today?

MD: I was supposed to be a doctor (like my father, brother, father-in-law, cousins). “Black sheep of the family”. Incredible time in medicine because of technology. Genomics, epigenetic expression. Dell make cool stuff that empowers doctors and scientists

Over the last few years, Dell and EMC have moved to less direct businesses. Will the merger accelerate that?

MD: Business is both direct and partner. $35B in revenues are with and through partners. They want to grow them both. Partner reaction to Dell EMC combo has been tremendous. Partners are a big part of their success. OEM business is also pretty important.

What’s the pitch for hybrid versus public cloud? And you didn’t feel him slip that card in your sleeve [referring to a trick on stage with David Blaine earlier]?

MD: when they talk to customers, it’s a multi-cloud world. For a variety of reasons (cost, security, flexibility) the on-premises systems are still important. Boomerang effect – customers coming back to on-prem because of cost. Not anti-public cloud. But it’s not perfect or right for all workloads. It’s going to be a multi-cloud world. Pivotal has created a platform for cloud-native apps. Run them in the big public clouds or on-premises. Test and develop in public cloud, deploy on-premises.

Dell transformation – moving to addressing customer needs. Where are you in the journey? And what’s been the biggest challenge?

MD: On a path to evolve the business. How do you extend the conversation beyond IT? Digital transformation – It’s a CEO project, at the core of the company. 8 months since the merger, so they’re along the path pretty well now.


Dell Technologies Strategy 

Tom Sweet, CFO, Dell

Only 8 months together. Still have a lot to do. Optimistic about the year. Reception from customers, employees is good.


To become the essential infrastructure company – from the edge to the DC to the cloud – not only for today’s applications, but for the cloud-native world we’re entering


Digital transformation requires us to help customers succeed in three key areas:

  • IT Transformation – modernise, automate and transform
  • Security transformation – connect, automate and integrate
  • Workforce transformation – attract, enable and protect

Enabling the strategy

Pre-integration – standalone product and solutions-specific vendors

September 2016 – Introduced Dell Technologies and its family of businesses

~8 months – Unified portfolio and GTM

  • complete end-to-end offering
  • integrated GTM function
  • rapid time-to-market
  • improved cost & scale
  • flexible consumption through Dell Financial Services

~2 years – Vision of the essential infrastructure company

  • clear leader in IT infrastructure & client solutions
  • recognised expert in digital transformation
  • strongest multi-cloud portfolio
  • business-driven security products & services
  • comprehensive array of solutions and consumption models

FY18 Financial Plan

1. Macro-environment

2. Market dynamics

3. Resources and offerings

Financial Framework

  • Growth
  • Margin $ generation
  • Balanced cost framework
  • Cross-sell family of businesses

Investing in growth

  • Sales coverage
  • Gaming, high-end notebooks and monitors
  • 14G servers
  • HCI
  • Hybrid & multi-cloud
  • Cloud-native application development platforms
  • Financing / flexible consumption models
  • SDDC

Infrastructure Solutions (FY18 Strategic Focus)

  • Enhance and simplify storage and server businesses
  • Drive customer IT transformation
  • Optimise GTM and cross-sell between Dell, EMC & VMware

Client Solutions (FY18 Strategic Focus)

  • Grow commercial share and premium offerings
  • Scale across portfolio, attach financing, S&P and accessories
  • Optimise GTM coverage, build velocity across all GTM teams (Enterprise, Commercial and CSB)

Our keys to win

  • Grow at premium to market
  • Generate margin $ growth
  • Accelerate emerging growth opportunities
  • Execute against cost and revenue synergies
  • Drive innovative solutions
  • Realise the vision of Dell Technologies


Where are you investing in the sales coverage? A lot of EMC sales ppl seem to be leaving.

TS: Investment runs the gamut, more in specialists and sales specialists. Did see some churn before the transaction closed. Some of the attrition has now stabilised. #1 cause of customer dissatisfaction is relationship churn.

In terms of your partnerships, what impact does it have to have parts of the business (VMware and SecureWorks) publicly traded?

TS: You have be mindful of the whole constituency of shareholders. Hasn’t been a blocker in terms of getting things done. More coordinated than the federated model (legacy EMC).

MD said public cloud twice as expensive as on-premises computing – where did MD get that?

TS: There have been some analysis done that refer to that cost point. Public cloud is not always about complete flexibility. Public cloud is great for certain workloads, certain activities. Focussed on model of on-premises, off-premises and hybrid.

Can you talk to where cashflow fits in your priorities? What are you targeting for % revenue for R&D to fit?

TS: Cashflow fits in as part of gross revenue. Run the company from a cashflow perspective these days. Maximise profit dollars as you grow. R&D investment will fluctuate – not ready to give a longterm view of where it’s at yet.

What about Dell’s digital transformation? How’s that going?

TS: Using a lot of Dell stuff. Boomi, SecureWorks, big VMware shop. Opportunity to streamline capabilities from an automation perspective. All Dell client environment.



ISG Strategy Update 

David Goulden, President, Dell EMC

“We have a winning portfolio”

Dell Technologies – a force multiplier

Infrastructure -> Cloud -> Applications -> Users -> Security


Announcements today focussed on enterprise market. How can these be used by SMB market? And what about the challenges for SMB in this transformation?

DG: VxRail – taken enterprise in half to get it to a point where SMB can use it. The new Unity and SC systems are aimed at medium as well as large enterprise. The portfolio scales down (not all of it, of course). One team that deals with Enterprise, the other one deals with SMBs. Their advantage is they don’t have as much legacy. Move very quickly.

The only weak spot seems to be in networking. At some point do you think you need to get better in networking? Would you partner with Arista or Cisco?

DG: Big partner already with Cisco (think Vblock). Networking is changing. Open networking movement is growing rapidly.

Better together. How are you thinking about doing engineering? Are you doing the business bit first and then pulling in engineering resources?

DG: Servers (Dell), Storage and Data Protection (EMC), Networking (Dell)

VxRail is the first version of “better together”. In storage and data protection, a lot of appliances running on servers. 14G is a big catalyst for a lot of the better together stuff accelerating. Also a lot happening with VMware and Pivotal.

With Pivotal as the driver of digital transformation within Dell EMC – is that enough?

DG: It’s more than one company. It’s an ecosystem (e.g. CloudFoundry). A number of partners working with Pivotal to make the tech become more available. A number of customers doing their own thing that aren’t necessarily engaging with Pivotal, but Dell EMC are big on Pivotal when customers are telling them they want to be a software company. They have good experience with a bunch of web startups.

Servers. There’s a lot of creativity in servers (cartridge-size, flash-heavy) and then there’s Dell. Seems HPE are more adventurous. EMC have previously been adventurous as well. Are you concerned that being part of Dell that the server design philosophy is becoming cautious and constrained. 

DG: Disagree respectfully. Dell has just become #1 in servers. The industry’s moving “our way”. There are all kinds of form factors. Including rack scale. This segment is growing at the expense of all other segments (tower, rack, blade). Rack scale reflective of what you’re seeing with web scale.

MD said Dell is looking at startups. What’s missing now that you need to buy more?

DG: Spending more time with Dell Technologies Ventures. Investing in early stage companies. AI, Machine learning, deep learning. Getting close to those companies, understanding how they work. Want to make sure they’re in front of and working well with the latest trends. Focus is on delivering results over a longer term. Customers, for example, want to buy and pay as they use. This is okay for a private company, harder for a public company to pull off.

Better together. Partnership with Cisco. Will Dell Networking be stepping up and displacing Cisco in Vblock and VXblock?

DG: Always going to Cisco. VXrack will have multiple technologies offered (Cisco, Dell, Arista).

It’s a multi-cloud world. Customers are struggling with where to go when.

DG: Focussed consulting organisation – application portfolio analysis and application rationalisation. “There’s no point having a great public / private / hybrid cloud strategy if you haven’t worked out what apps are going to go where”.



And that’s it. Interesting session. 4.5 stars.

Dell EMC World 2017 – Monday General Session Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the Monday General Session. It’s ostensibly a transcript, with little analysis. Hopefully some of the included links are useful if nothing else.

Jeremy Burton takes the stage to run through some housekeeping and logistics, and runs through the week’s activities and does a “Servercraft” demo with young Henry Burton (13).


Michael Dell

There’s an opening video and Michael Dell takes the stage. He starts off by saying it’s a “[t]ime of unprecedented change and opportunity.”

  • 100% of the top SaaS companies run on Dell Technologies
  • 90% IaaS
  • 70% of the top cloud companies

“Magic can’t make digital transformation happen, but we can”. Covers off the Dell Technologies portfolio – Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, virtustream, VMware. They’re a leader in 15 Gartner Magic Quadrants (this means something to people, even if we don’t want it to). Dell EMC’s focussed on the best innovation and highest quality, creates value for you. Here’s a blurry photo of MD and a whole bunch of logos.

[Video – Boeing, Ted Colbert – CIO]

Taking aviation to the internet of things. MD talks about Pivotal CloudFoundry – cloud-native applications with continuous delivery. Technology is at the centre of transforming your company into a cloud company. The cloud is not a place, but rather a way of doing information technology.

Public, private, hybrid, SaaS, etc – Optimising workloads, moving and securing them efficiently

Public cloud shouldn’t be your only strategy – you need IT transformation in your business:

  • The 14G PowerEdge – first server designed for the cloud era
  • Data protection suite with Data Domain
  • Open networking, Dell EMC switches, and NSX

Dell Technologies love VMware. Digital transformation also drives transformation in the workforce.

[Video – Sony Pictures]

Stephen Andujar from Sony – Everything they do has shifted form analogue to digital – creates significant demand on the IT department. Erik Strauss from Sony – Every artist at Sony runs on Dell Precision.

MD then talks about change.

  • The workforce and the workplace are changing. VMware’s air watch and workspace one being integrated into Dell client offerings. Consumer simple and enterprise secure out of the box.
  • Announcing Dell’s PC as-a-service offering.
  • Alienware acquisition – left them alone, incubated and amplified their innovations

[Video – Simon Bolton, CIO, Jaguar Land Rover]

MD talks about the connection between edge, core and cloud becoming increasingly central. “Number 1 in everything, all in one place” is the mantra. Securing your data across your entire environment with:

  • NSX for micro segmentation
  • SecureWorks – advanced threat monitoring
  • RSA – build your own automated and intelligent security capabilities – working together for positive change

Karen Quintos (Chief Customer Officer) takes the stage to talk about work with translational genomics and the Ocean Plastics project.

MD then talks about the “Fourth industrial revolution”, building the infrastructure required for this revolution is very different to the last. Digital transformation is your ticket to the dance of continuous innovation.

David Blaine takes the stage to do a card trick with MD. Then 2 people from the crowd. Then calls David Goulden to the stage.


David Goulden

David Goulden is then re-introduced on stage.

How do we make IT transformation real? CIO’s roles are getting harder and harder every day. They’re being asked to deliver cost reduction, agility, security and still need to drive innovation.

Dell EMC want you to do this by modernising the DC, automating service delivery, and transforming IT operations. They recognise that:

  • Applications drive business value
  • Applications increasingly run on clouds
  • Clouds run on IT infrastructure
  • Enhanced by services and consumption models

So what’s the Dell EMC Strategy?

1. Cloud

Targeting not just general purpose applications, but also mission critical and cloud-native applications. Run it all with VMware.

Manage mission critical applications with virtustream, cloud-native with pivotal, General purpose on premises – Enterprise Hybrid cloud.

Off-premises – Dell EMC providers, IBM Softlayer, AWS, Microsoft Azure
Mission-critical off-premises – virtustream

On-premises – EHC for virtustream – coming soon
Cloud-native on-prem – Native Hybrid Cloud

Pivotal has partnerships with Azure, Google and AWS

2. Infrastructure

It’s a three part journey (Modernise, automate, transform). In the modern DC, modern architecture means:

  • Flash
  • Scale-out
  • Software-defined
  • Cloud-enabled
  • Trusted

You can buy it via converged infrastructure – blocks, appliances and racks – from converged infrastructure to hyperconverged infrastructure.

VxRail 4.5 – new 14G servers, new vSphere and VSAN. It also has a lower price point and new cloud pricing for VxRail (No cash upfront, no long-term obligation, simple payments). But you can also do CI/HCI or still build your own.
Server Portfolio

PowerEdge 14G servers announcement. It’s tightly aligned with Intel’s roadmap.
Introduces Diane Bryant – Everyone wants to scale the environment without having the corresponding scale in cost.

Goulden continues to talk about 14G

  • Scalable business architecture
  • Intelligent automation and services
  • Secure integrated by design

He then introduces Ashley Gorakhpurwalla (President, Server Solutions at Dell).

  • Started on 14G 3 years ago
  • 19x times more NVMe flash in these servers
  • 50% more GPUs than before
  • Availability? First gen as Dell EMC. “Coming this summer”. As soon as Intel GAs scalable Xeon.

Goulden then goes on to cover storage announcements

Strength in diversity of portfolio

More powerful, denser, more efficient, more performance, lower TCO

Jeff Boudreau (President, Storage Division, Dell EMC) and Dan Maslowski (Global Engineering Head, Citi Storage, Citi Systems) talk briefly.

Goulden then goes on to cover integrated data protection appliance and other announcements.

Beth Phelan (President, Data Protection) and Eric Coss,(Manager Infrastructure and Operations, Nationwide Insurance) talk briefly.

Goulden then covers the Dell networking announcements.

3. Services and Consumption

  • 60000 services and partner pros in 165 countries
  • Consulting
  • Deployment
  • Support
  • Training
  • Managed Services
  • Complete offering of flexible consumption models



  • Cloud strategy – supports every workload
  • Best products – #1 in everything
  • Flexible service and consumption models

Interesting session. 4 stars.


Dell EMC (Pre-)Announces ScaleIO 3.0

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell EMC World 2017.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell EMC via the Dell EMC Elect program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.


Dell EMC today “pre-announced” ScaleIO.Next (3.0). It will be available by end of year, and it looks like there’s going to be a tonne of new features included. I’ll cover off the main ones below, but obviously things might change too. I call this one “death by dot point”.


Compression and Space Efficient Layout

Space Efficient Layout

Created on a storage pool level

  • SSDs can use new layout optimized for SSD, or they can still leverage existing layout if they care about performance more than efficiency
  • Takes full advantage of NVDIMM technology
  • Designed to work well in hyperconverged deployments – Minimised RAM and CPU consumption

Great efficiency and high performance

  • Snapshot and Thin volumes now work on 4K granularity
  • Everything is thin provisioned with no thin performance penalty (no need to worry about zero padding)
  • Snapshots will be highly efficient (space and perf) – great for test/dev
  • Excellent write response times, commits being done in NVDIMMs

Compatible with all existing ScaleIO feature/functionality – still the same scalability and resiliency


  • SSD (including NVMe)



  • Designed from the ground up for SSD and leveraging NVDIMMs
    • Expect best in class performance and space saving
    • Can be turned on / off at storage pool or even volume level
    • Writes are staged with NVDIMM, great latency
  • Variable block size compression based on LZ4.
  • Great for hyperconverged deployments – designed to minimise RAM and CPU requirement.
  • Easy button: Dynamic compression engine – customers no longer have to worry about balancing compression overhead vs. actual compression savings.
  • ScaleIO will automatically not compress data, even if compression is turned on, if the data is not very compressible.

Requirement: Space efficient layout


Full Support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14G and NVMe Drives

ScaleIO 3.0 is built to leverage PowerEdge 14G with NVDIMM and NVMe Drives:

  • PowerEdge 14G based ScaleIO Ready Nodes
  • End-to-end support of PowerEdge 14G with ScaleIO AMS (Automated Management Service)
  • Single support for both 14G PowerEdge and ScaleIO software


Enterprise Grade Virtual Volumes Support

VMware Virtual Volumes enable customers to tie VMs more directly to storage volumes (requires ESX 6.0 or newer).

Today, many VMs run on the same volume. This provides:

  • Simplified management
  • Less resource contention
  • Ability to leverage storage side features like snapshot

Exposes speed of storage within a Storage Pool – It ties the pool to a storage profile (Gold, Silver, or Bronze). When VM is started, the requirements are evaluated and a volume is created in the right class of storage.


Snapshot Enhancements

  • Snapshot count increased by at least 4x
    • From 31 to 127 for current “medium granular” layout
    • “Fine granular layout” (aka space efficiency layout) snapshot count is increased 8x – 255 snapshots
  • Volumes can be reverted to any snapshot within the vTree
    • Users can revert a volume, on the fly, to different, older or new versions of the volume
  • Volumes can be refreshed in place
    • No need for host to remount a different volume, data can be refreshed under the covers
  • Snapshot can be deleted anywhere in the vTree without affecting others snapshot in vTree
  • Automated snapshot management
    • Customers can set snapshot creation and retention policy and ScaleIO will automatically manage the snapshots without use intervention
    • Snapshot management works w/ CG as well – i.e define policy for a set of snapshots
  • No impact snapshot overhead for “fine granular layout”.


System Analysis Tool

Tool to identify potential issues with your ScaleIO system – performance and stability

  • Used to analyze the ScaleIO system immediately after deployment, before provisioning volumes, and before using the system in production. You can also use it to check the health of a system that is already operational.

First added in 2.0.1, supporting RHEL storage-only (2-layer) nodes. Expanded to include support for VMware – includes both hyperconverged and 2-layer VMware deployments.

Enhanced to better handle networks like:

  • IPv6
  • LACP
  • NIC Teaming


Hardware Awareness Enhancement

ScaleIO.Next also includes improved “Hardware Awareness”

  • Extends this feature added in 2.0.1 to display extended data in the GUI
  • Hardware Awareness greatly simplifies drive replacement in the DC by blinking LEDs
  • Better troubleshooting by providing deeper insight into the RAID controller and the devices attached
    • SMART data, S/N, temperature, etc.
  • Support for environments with:
    • Linux SDS servers;
    • LSI3108-based cards;
    • Dell PERC H730 & HBA330;
    • HPE Smart Array P440ar &P410i; and
    • Requires hardware vendor specific management tools to be installed.

More cards are compatible, but not yet verified



I’ve been intrigued by the potential of ScaleIO for some time. It’s by all accounts a great performing SDS solution offering some seriously cool features. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself – go here to download it.  Chad also did a great write-up on ScaleIO when the ScaleIO node was announced in 2015. Whilst it’s a little dated now, I think it’s nonetheless an invaluable insight into ScaleIO.

SDS means a lot of things to a lot of people. Abstract, pool, automate. Doing the same thing for storage that virtualisation did for compute. And everyone fancies themselves as a web-scale outfit. Especially the ones who aren’t. The presence of ScaleIO and VMware vSAN in the same portfolio seems to confuse people at times. I’m not going to write about the differences between the two, but they’re arguably pitching at different markets and ultimately do different things. One of the cool things about the Dell acquisition of EMC has been that the products you know and like / use haven’t automatically been thrown in the bin. The downside is that newcomers to the portfolio can find it all a bit overwhelming. All I can say is that if you’re SDS-curious it’s worth having a conversation with Dell EMC as they’ll invariably have a solution that will align with your requirements.